Like most retail businesses, fashion sales tend to increase significantly during the holiday season. The main challenge is to keep up with this rising demand. But higher demand is no excuse for lower service, and retailers are expected to provide a frictionless shopping experience during this season more than ever. That means eliminating pain points and providing exactly what the shopper needs just when they need it without ever having to think about it.
Here are five steps to achieving frictionless purchase on your ecommerce site during the peak season — and all year long:
Step 1: Make it Easy to Buy
Some customers arrive on a site looking to browse, and others have a clear idea of what they want. Regardless of their intent, anyone who lands on a site should easily be able to find what they need without having to dig, so implementing solutions to deliver personalised and intelligent search and navigation experiences for shoppers is key.
Tailoring the experience also includes the optimisation of the checkout process so it fits with shoppers expectations. One tactic is to provide shoppers with enough payment options to fit their different needs without overcomplicating things.
Step 2: Inspire Customer Confidence
Another point of friction for shoppers is seeing any indicators that a site might not be reputable or have strong security to protect their data from a breach. They’re right to be concerned. Online retailers deal with around 206,000 attacks on their stores each month. Display reliability and security before, during and after purchase:
- Use an ecommerce platform that is Level 1 PCI compliance to make the site safe and secure.
- Connect the site with solutions that provide customers additional peace of mind such as package protection against loss, theft and damage.
- Add a warranty program so products are protected long after delivery.
Step 3: Deliver Surprise and Delight
The delivery process and unboxing experience should always be just as frictionless and delightful as everything else in order to create a lasting impression on customers. And it is even more important around Christmas time as you can offer specific packages or wrapping options to your customers.
Adding up to solutions such as fast shipping or updating the customer along the shipment journey can result in a better overall experience.
For customers who want more than just fast shipping, providing additional options like BOPIS (buy online, purchase in-store) can enhance the experience, especially considering our 2021 Consumer Spending Trends report where multiple respondents commented that they “liked click-and-collect because it allowed them to counteract shipping fees.” A great way to generate traffic and sales in-store too.
Step 4: Make Returning Just as Easy as Purchasing
No one wants to see merchandise coming back through the doors, but it is an essential service to be offered by fashion retailers and during the holiday season especially.
Providing a frictionless returns process leads to satisfied customers and even repeat customers. One survey found that 96% of consumers will go back to companies that made returns and exchanges as seamless as possible.
It’s important to ask for feedback from customers and solicit reviews to solve any issues early, and it’s also important to make returns just as seamless as any other part of the process.
Step 5: Keep Nurturing the Relationship
Depending on the product, a one-time customer has the potential to be a long-time repeat customer, if they are treated like one from the beginning. Continued engagement and re-engagement with the customer after the peak season helps strengthen relationships and keeps a brand top of mind for future purchases.
Marketing during the delivery process can also be an effective way to continually engage shoppers. Many brands forget to talk to customers about upselling while the package is in transit, missing the time when the shoppers are most engaged.
To push customers to come back, other solutions such as subscriptions or a loyalty program can lead to more sales now and in 2022.
Ultimately, businesses and customers want the same thing: to get a product in customers’ hands with as little friction as possible. There is no one-size-fits-all approach but it’s critical to simplify wherever’s possible and find efficiencies for shoppers at every stage of their journey.
To make sure your online store is well prepared and ready to deliver a delightful shopping experience even when the traffic online is increasing, download the 2021 Peak Season Readiness Checklist.